I Just Broke Up with Our Old School and I'm Not Ready to Be Friends (Yet)

I Just Broke Up with Our Old School and I’m Not Ready to Be Friends (Yet)

This summer we moved and I liked the town we were in. By some miracle of miracles, I had ended up in a tiny little football community that just happened to also be the hometown of one of my best friends. My connection to her meant that I got connected to everyone and everything fast. I loved it there.

We joined the YMCA that served as a central hub where so many of us Mamas met with our kids, took classes, or walked the track and talked. The entire town was eight miles from end-to-end so, no matter where I went, friends were also there. At HyVee. At the park. At the pool. In the pickup line. In less time than it took to unpack our boxes, I had a full-on gaggle of girlfriends that I did life with every day for three years. That is until I didn’t anymore.

I remember clearly the day my husband came home and told me we would not be coaching there next year. Being a small town, I knew what that meant. You don’t get to stay. There’s not another job in the same city that would allow us to keep our home or community. We were moving. And, I was going to be leaving all those girls behind. It had been such a full and idyllic friend and Mom situation for three solid years, and I was so, so sad to leave.

Thankfully, my husband’s new job was secured in the spring so, I knew where we were moving before the school year ended. We drove to our “soon to be new community” several times. We showed our kids their new school building, met the new administration, shook hands with the staff, and attended a church service or two. What it would look like to live in this new place started to take shape.

However, after a few visits, I noticed a strange internal reaction when I met some of the gals in the community. They were women around my age, with kids around my kids’ ages. They were so thoughtful and intentionally reached out with smiles as they welcomed us at church. They said hi when we came to a baseball game. One of them even invited us over for a playdate. And yet, I was feeling this weird distance.

What was that?

After some self-reflection, I finally pinpointed it. These women were great. Their kids were adorable. They were the kind of gals that I could see myself being friends with. Except, I wasn’t ready.

Like a breakup after a long, significant relationship, no matter how great that next person is, you can’t make your heart ready until it’s ready. And, I wasn’t ready. Yet.

I have to admit, as reluctant as I felt, I still met people at least some of the time. I shook the hands and attended the playdate and introduced my kids while also making sure to take time to myself.

I told my husband about the weird way I was feeling and he said that made sense. I told my friend back in our old town and I cried. I did the hard things that were healthy and helpful to move forward but also grieved because I needed that too.

Fast forward to the season, and I’m feeling a little less grief-stricken and a little more open. I can feel that I am healing from the loss of those other friends and that is opening me up to the possibility of really getting to know and love these new ones. Thankfully, I don’t feel quite so distant anymore. And, I am even reaching out, rather than just being reached out to.

Here’s one sweet little fall example:

Me: Hey! Hope you had a great weekend. Random question. Talk to me about mums. Does anyone in town sell them? I’d love to support someone local.

Possible New Really Good Friend: Yes! There is a great store and shrub garden and nursery just down the ready that sells them super cheap and we love shopping with them.

Me: Sweet! We should go shopping after school starts!

Possible New Really Good Friend: Yes! I’m all in!

So, there you go. I’m not all healed up yet, but I’m dipping my toe in the friendship waters. Here’s to going shopping for mums and opening my heart. Coaching creates some beautiful friendships. It’s worth it to try again.

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